Australian Sign Language (Auslan): An introduction to sign by Trevor Johnston, Dr Adam Schembri

By Trevor Johnston, Dr Adam Schembri

This can be first finished creation to the linguistics of Auslan, the signal language of Australia. Assuming no past heritage in language examine, it explores every one key point of the constitution of Auslan, offering an available review of its grammar (how sentences are structured), phonology (the construction blocks of signs), morphology (the constitution of signs), lexicon (vocabulary), semantics (how which means is created), and discourse (how Auslan is utilized in context). The authors additionally speak about a variety of myths and misunderstandings approximately signal languages, offer an perception into the historical past and improvement of Auslan, and convey how Auslan is expounded to different signal languages, corresponding to these utilized in Britain, the us and New Zealand. entire with transparent illustrations of the indicators in use and worthy extra studying lists, this can be a fantastic source for a person attracted to Auslan, in addition to these looking a transparent, common advent to signal language linguistics.

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Extra info for Australian Sign Language (Auslan): An introduction to sign language linguistics

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This does not mean that the iconicity does not have other effects on the processing of signed languages by the brain—for example, iconic signs may be easier for adult learners to remember (see Lieberth & Gamble, 1991)—but only that iconic and non-iconic signs both share similar structural properties. Unfortunately, however, this evidence has been interpreted by some linguists to mean that iconicity plays no significant role at all in signed languages (see, for example, Pinker, 1994). This is not the case: most signs in Auslan do in fact have some link between their form and meaning, and iconicity plays an important role in the grammar (see Chapters 5, 6, 7 and 8).

Thus, the issue of a writing system is irrelevant to the question of whether or not signed languages are real languages. Sometimes, however, the point about Auslan lacking a written form is misinterpreted as a claim that signed languages, by their very nature, cannot be written down (Bernal & Wilson, 2004). People sometimes point out that Auslan make use of the space around the signer, as well as a range of facial expressions, and this poses a challenge for the design of a writing system for the language.

Although recent work has shown that the right hemisphere does indeed have a role in certain aspects of signed language processing (such as in the use of space and facial expression during signing), it has confirmed the initial findings based on the study of people with aphasia. For many key aspects of the production and comprehension of signed languages, the left hemisphere is dominant, just as it is with spoken languages (Emmorey, 2002), though it is becoming increasingly clear that language, especially face-to-face communication that is signed or spoken, also uses the right hemisphere.

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